Aylmer residents voice their concerns about future Vanier Rd waste triage centre
The public consultation about changing the Zoning bylaws for the lot where the future ecocenter plans to be constructed took place April 5 at the Maison de citoyen in Hull.
The zoning changes would allow for the lot to be used for waste management. It is important to note that the zoning changes affect the entire zone which contains other lots, not just the lot that will house the ecocenter. The zone is already an industrial zone and ranges from the intersection of Vanier Road and Pink Road to just before the Vanier Road and Vernon intersection west of the quarry. The zone includes five lots, one of which is the future site of the ecocenter. The ecocentre lot is close to the Vanier/Vernon intersection and does not include the small lot with a heritage building (former church).
In the most western part of the lot there are wetlands, and agricultural land is included in the larger zone. There is concern that there will be further development of other lots once the zoning is changed. Gatineau says that the ecocentre would not affect air quality, or the residents nearby as there was little trouble with the other locations that are close to residents. The City also notes the only noise that the ecocenter would bring in increased traffic in the area. The ecocentre will be for residents and not for commercial use.
The ecocentre will be a site where the public can bring bulky waste and other materials. The site will be similar to the other ecocentres in Gatineau. Aylmer has been promised such a site for over a decade and the plans for the ecocenter are in their beginning phases.
During the public consultation, Aylmer residents, especially those who live near the site, and surrounding businesses were able to ask questions and voice their concerns about the project. Many residents near the site are concerned about the effect the ecocentre may have on water quality. There are residents nearby that are on a well water system. There is concern that the toxic household material being collected, such as batteries, paint, propane could affect the water over time, or if there is a spill. There are streams that are protected that cross Vanier.
Mathieu Bélanger, from Service de l'Urbanisme et du Développement durable as well as Chantal Marcotte from Service de l’Environnement respond stating it is not a dump and there is a little chance of spilling as the water is put in large metal containers that are on concrete. No toxic material will be on the land. Concerning the streams, Marcotte and Bélanger say that as there is already industrial traffic in the area the ecocentre wouldn’t have a drastic effect on the area.
A resident asked if a risks assessment study or environmental analysis had been done to understand the potential environmental impact the ecocentre may cause. Bélanger said that as the project is in the first steps no analysis has been done. The zoning must be changed and then Gatineau will be able to analyse the site. Bélanger notes that all projects must comply with the City’s environmental regulations.
Other concerns include the lack of exploration of other sites in the Pink industrial park that would be in areas already developed. The City says that the lot was chosen as it fit the criteria, one of which is the accessibility and proximity to Aylmer residents.
Residents are also concerned with the increased development and traffic on Vanier Road. Over the years the area has quickly developed but the road is not equipped to handle the traffic and there has been little done to adjust to the changes. There are no sidewalks making it a risk to pedestrians and most of the road is two lanes.
The City responded that Vanier road is a concern but they see Vanier as a separate project from the ecocentre. Bélanger did note that Vanier Road should be discussed for possible changes as soon as possible.
Residents in selected zones close to the site are able to oppose the project by obtaining a certain number of signatures. They have until mid-april to start this process. Call 311 for information.
Photo: Public consultation. From left to right: Mathieu Bélanger from Service de l'Urbanisme et du Développement durable, Mario Aubé municipal councillor Masson-Angers district, and the assistant clerk Camille Doucet-Côté. Photo: Sophie Demers